Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

          As 2011 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on all of the many blessings I received this year as well as the many lessons learned. This has been a year of many smiles as well as many challenges. It has been my first full year as a mother and, trust me, I've had to learn A LOT! There have been many sleepless nights, diaper disasters, and breastfeeding challenges. There have also been many, many times when I look at Daniel and can't help but smile. I love my little guy so much and he never ceases to amaze me. He has changed so much this year. He went from being completely dependent on me for everything to starting solids, learning to crawl and then walk and even learning how to communicate with me non verbally and using some short words! He has turned into such a big boy what seems to me like overnight!

          This year has also been a challenge for my marriage as my husband and I have learned to adjust our lives, schedule, finances and relationship to include a third, wonderful little person. On top of that, I also became pregnant with our second baby this year so our family is expanding even more! This year I also became a blogger and have been working on a project to help normalize breastfeeding and I have learned a lot in the process. Daniel and I participated in the Big Latch On and the Target Nurse-In this year as well. I started out the year as a very self-conscious breastfeeding mom and have blossomed into a total lactivist!

          Although this has been a challenging year in many ways, I am very thankful for the many smiles, laughs, and joyful moments. I am extremely thankful for the many small victories such as every time we overcame a breastfeeding challenge. I am thankful for having a wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in everything I do and I am thankful for my sweet, very special baby boy as well as his baby brother who is on the way. I cherish every memory of waking up next to Daniel and having him give me a super sweet good morning smile as well as the joy of watching him meet new milestones, seeing him learn and grow. I am thankful for God and how much He has blessed me. I am thankful that our family has had a home and food and that my husband has a job at a time when so many are doing without. We may not be rich or have our house full of stuff we don't need, but God has provided everything we need. We also have each other and that is the most important thing. I am thankful for our extended family (parents, grandparents, etc) as we have forged deeper relationships this year and have received so much support. I am also thankful for the new relationships we have developed this year and for the many lessons learned. Although some of these lessons have been hard, they were definitely necessary and have only made me a stronger, more mature person.

          I am very much looking forward to 2012. I look forward to new opportunities, going deeper in my relationship with God, a stronger relationship with my husband, even more special times with Daniel, watching him learn so much more, and the arrival of his baby brother in April, of course! I am looking forward to getting into the field of breastfeeding support and counseling as well as seeing my project completed and watching my blog reach and help many more parents. I am looking forward to many more lessons as a mother of two and to tandem nursing my two little boys. I am sure that 2012 will bring with it many more challenges but I am looking forward to the many lessons I'll learn, the many new relationships I'll form, the many people I can help, and how much stronger and confident I'll become!

          I hope all of you have as much to be thankful for in 2011 and as much to look forward to in 2012 as I do. For those who have had a difficult 2011, may 2012 be a much better year for you. Enjoy the day with your family and friends in which ever way you celebrate and stay safe and healthy. Happy New Year to all of you. May you have many blessings in this new year to come!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections on One Year of Mothering

          A month ago today, my precious little Daniel turned one. Not only did that date mark one year of his life, but also a year of me being a mother. That is a year of being responsible for caring for such an important, defenseless and innocent little person. A year of breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping and cloth diapering. It has been a year of trials and struggles and learning as I went. It was also a year of loving my baby unconditionally with all of my heart and of striving to do the best I can for him. Even with the lack of sleep, my time being taken over by someone else, and not being able to always eat when I wanted to, I wouldn't trade this past year for anything in the world. I have learned so much and have been so blessed by having Daniel in my life and I'm looking forward to watching him grow up. I'm curious to see how he and his baby brother will get along, what kind of personalities they'll have growing up, what things they will like and what kind of men they will become.

          When I first became a mother, I was very unsure of myself. I had done some research on child rearing but did not fee I had done enough. There is, after all, so much involved in raising a happy, healthy child. I had decided to breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear and cloth diaper but wasn't completely sure of how it would go. I can honestly say that i am glad for the choices that we made. As evidenced in previous posts, I had many struggles with breastfeeding in the very beginning and more recently while being pregnant again. However, I am so glad that I never gave up, even on the hardest days, and have been able to provide Daniel with the best nourishment possible and will continue to do so as long as he wants to continue nursing. The bond that we have created through nursing is something I wouldn't give up for anything in this world. Sometimes I still can't believe how amazing it is that I am able to both nourish and comfort my baby at the breast. I am looking forward to my nursing relationship with Daniel's baby brother as well as tandem nursing and the beautiful bond that my boys will develop not only with me but with each other as well.

          Although we didn't originally plan to have Daniel in bed with us, just in our room in a bassinet or co-sleeper, we have enjoyed every minute of sleeping next to Daniel. Cuddling with him at night and waking up to his smiling face and kisses make me feel great. And, of course, being able to nurse him without having to wake up and go get him from his crib is great too. Daniel barely even cried at night and once he started sleeping with us and will usually wake up happy and ready to play instead of crying because he's all alone. When hungry, he usually rolls over and looks for the breast. We are so in sync that I usually wake up around the same time and help him get latched on while we are both lying on our sides and then we both drift back off to sleep. Daniel feels secure and sleeps really well knowing mom and dad and his food are right there next to him. My husband has enjoyed Daniel sleeping with us as well and neither of us can even imagine putting our baby in a crib, all alone in a different room. We wouldn't change our sleeping arrangements if given the choice and plan to co-sleep with the new baby as well.

          As for baby wearing, both Daniel and I absolutely LOVED our Moby Wrap and he would be in it more often if it wasn't for me being pregnant. Daniel is now learning to walk and I am so proud of him but he's still wobbly and gets tired so he still requires a lot of carrying. Because I'm pregnant, I can no longer wear him in the front as that is too much weight on my pregnant belly. Unfortunately, i still haven't found the perfect carrier for me to wear him on my hip or back but we do use the Moby or Sleepy wraps in a hip carry from time to time. The rest of the time, I'm usually carrying him in my arms. On some occasions, he rides in the stroller but it is not his favorite. I can't wait to use the Moby and Sleepy wraps with my newborn once he's here and look forward to finding the perfect carrier to wear Daniel in soon. I have found that wearing Daniel has been more convenient than carrying a stroller around everywhere and Daniel has been so happy and content that sometimes people didn't even notice I had a baby in there. If given the choice of stroller or carrier, I'd definitely go with carrier and Daniel would probably agree.

          The big choice I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear about is cloth diapering. Most people we talk to assume that it's too much work to have to wash them, too inconvenient to carry them around, and too disgusting to deal with the poop. After a year of cloth diapering, I can honestly say, it hasn't been that big of a deal and is a normal part of our lives now. Whether it's because of food on his shirt, some pee that leaked on his pajamas over night, or some dirt he got on his pants at the playground, the fact is that Daniel usually goes through at least two changes of clothes a day so I have to wash his clothes pretty often. Since I'm washing anyway, an extra load is not a big deal. I must mention that I live in a 2nd floor apartment and must walk downstairs and across my apartment complex to the laundry room where I have to use quarters to pay for my wash. despite all that, the diapers have not been much of a burden. As I said, I have to go wash his clothes anyway. Even with paying for the wash, we have still found that we have saved a huge deal of money, especially since we got most of the diapers as a gift from my mother in law, which significantly cut down on our original expense. Daniel has never really gotten a diaper rash. His bum has been red sometimes but it has quickly cleared up with some olive or calendula oil and has never turned into anything serious. Also, compared to disposables, which we used in the very beginning and have still used occasionally on laundry day, we have found cloth diapers to be more absorbent, and we are much less likely to have a blowout in them. That was especially true in those newborn days with explosive exclusively breastfed poop messes! We have not found it inconvenient to carry them around when dirty. We have a wet bag to put them in that is waterproof. As for the poop, once he started eating a lot of solids, we got a diaper sprayer we use for the sticky poop and the harder poop just rolls off into the toilet. That step takes a little more time but not so much that we would want to use disposables instead. All in all, we are very happy with our decision to cloth diaper and plan to get more diapers before our new baby is born.

          I am very happy with the decisions we have made so far and only hope that the decisions we make for our children in the future go as smoothly. We are still faced with the ongoing decision on vaccines and in the future there will be the issue of public school, private school or home schooling as well as thousands of other every day and life long decisions. Although being a parent involves so much work, constant learning and so many decisions, including ones that are very difficult, it is also a very rewarding experience. I still can't believe that i have the capacity in me to love another person so much and I can't help but view parenting as a privilege and a blessing. I am honored that God has seen me fit enough to be responsible for such an amazing, sweet, loving and intelligent little person! I am blessed to have Daniel in my life and thank God for him each and every day. I would not trade him or my role as his mother for anything in the world, ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cake Lingerie's "Real Mums, Real Fit" Campaign


          As a pregnant or breastfeeding mom (and sometimes both), it is very hard to find bras and lingerie that are both functional and make us feel attractive and love the new bodies we are in. Cake Lingerie, a company based out of the United Kingdom, has been able to put both of these together to create a fashionable line that is appealing to nursing mothers. No more boring, plain black, white or tan bras! The line is sold in over 30 countries and 400 stores worldwide. Cake Lingerie is helping many pregnant and nursing moms feel beautiful in their new mom bodies and, in 2011, the brand was named the Maternity Brand of the Year in the UK.

           The makers of Cake Lingerie believe that every woman is beautiful and are encouraging each woman to embrace her femininity and new mom curves. For this purpose and to celebrate the beauty of motherhood, they launched their "Real Mums, Real Fit" campaign . The campaign features real pregnant and nursing moms posing in Cake Lingerie designs and is meant to show how real women are just as beautiful as any model. Any pregnant or nursing mother is able to participate and have the chance to be an international model for the brand. It is an awesome opportunity for any mom who wants to feel beautiful and embrace her body as it is. The campaign has previously run in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Finland, the UK, Ireland and France and just ran in Canada earlier this year. It is still unknown when and where the campaign will run next.

The 4 finalists from the Canada campaign
        





   

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breastfeeding In Public Is Offensive: See for Yourself!

Nature's Mother posted this recently and I just had to share. The author is unknown.



I’m thankful for not having boobs thrown in my face all the time by offensive and indecent breastfeeding mothers like the ones below:



Wait…Well, this is a bad example. Let’s try again.



Hmm…Just a minute. I’m sure I can find better ones than these…



Eh, still not offensive enough. I’ll check one more time.





That is better. LOOK AT THAT! I see about a half inch of boob. DISGUSTING.



UGH. Look at that indecency! She must be from some third world country to be exposed like that!



Now that’s just…There are no words to describe how inappropriate that is.



Something needs to be done!
But why stop at breasfeeding women? There are boobs everywhere.Beware! If you thought the above photos were offensive, you WILL DEFINITELY be offended by the photos below.



Not this one, though. This one was in plain view on news stands and in mail boxes in 19 countries world wide!



Not this one, either. This one actually won an award!



Oh, and I guess this one is fine too. Everyone knows you can’t sell jeans without someone being topless.



Or beer, for that matter.



Or sunglasses.



Or movie tickets.



Or CDs…



You know what? Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that someone mixed up some photos here. The first batch are offensive, but the second batch are just fine and dandy???

People who live in glass bras:

Shouldn’t throw stones:

If you think women have the right to breastfeed their children no matter where they are, please repost this…comment vote it popular whatever . Support breastfed babies and their right to eat in public!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms- Author Unknown

Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!

We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.

I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet her needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse her, Mom I am!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cookies, Then Milk Review and Giveaway

        
          About a couple of months ago, when I first started struggling with my milk supply due to the pregnancy, I had the privilege of winning a batch of Cookies, Then Milk lactation cookie mix from a giveaway on the Cookies, Then Milk Facebook page. When I emailed Nicole Bredeson, the owner of cookies, Then Milk, and told her how happy I was to be getting the cookies since I was pregnant and having low milk supply, she even threw in a package of her special lactation hot cereal to help me out. Nicole is a work at home mom of three who is also in school and, since she was so nice to me, I decided to help her out by writing a review of her cookies on here.Click here to read Nicole's story.

          Before eating the cookies and hot cereal, I had started pumping and the maximum I would get was 1.5 oz if I was lucky. Most of the time, I would get less than an ounce and that was after seeing a slight increase while taking several galactagogues! I received a one week supply of hot cereal and a 2 week supply of cookie mix. Both were easy to prepare and both were yummy, especially the chocolate chip cookies. I later bought her peanut butter chip cookies and those are awesome! After eating the oatmeal and eating the cookies as directed for a few days, I began to pump 2.5 to 3oz at a time!  I was so excited! Then I was put on antibiotics for a bladder infection and my supply went down again. After finishing the antibiotics, drinking more water, and continuing to eat my cookies, my pumping output was about 2oz and sometimes 2.5 oz again. The figures I'm naming may sound small but keep in mind that I am pregnant and the pregnancy hormones are working against my milk supply. I assume that if I wasn't pregnant I would see an even higher increase but I can't say for certain. What I can say is that I definitely saw an increase, especially when eating the cookies and cereal together and that both were very tasty. I would definitely recommend Cookies, then Milk lactation cookies as a convenient and delicious way to increase or maintain milk supply.Nicole has a variety of flavors as well as waffle mix, muffin mix, brownie mix and new mom gift baskets. She also has sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, and organic mixes available.

          Now for the best news of all: Nicole has been kind enough to host a giveaway for my readers! The winner gets a choice of three gift baskets: 1. Two batches of cookie mix in your choice of flavor, 2. One batch of cookie mix in your choice of flavor and a nursing cover, or 3. One batch of cookie mix in your choice of flavor, a cookie scoop, and a pair of handmade nursing pads.



There are four ways  to enter:

1. Like  Diary of a Natural Mom on Facebook and leave a comment here saying that you did. (1 entry)

2. Follow this blog publicly and leave a comment saying that you do. (1 entry)

3.  Like Cookies, Then Milk on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you did. (1 entry)

4. Visit Cookiesthenmilk.com and leave a comment here stating which of her products you would buy.
    (1 entry)

          You can only do each one once for a total of up to four entries per person. Please put your name and email address in each comment so I can reach you if you are the winner. Each entry must be a separate comment. Winner will be randomly selected using the sequence generator at Random.org and will be announced on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011.

          Nicole is  currently having a major inventory clearance sale and all original recipe mixes are 2 for $25 and all specialty recipe mixes are 2 for $29. Her winter special of the month, Black and White cookie mix is currently $14 for one, $12.50 each for 2, and $10 each for 3. Hurry on to Cookiesthenmilk.com and place your order while supplies last!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm Back!

          Hello everyone. As you have all noticed, I have been neglecting to write anything for a while. I would like to apologize to all my faithful readers for this gap in my writing. I have been dealing with a lot lately and had been busy and stressed out. Last month, Daniel turned one and I was really busy with birthday party preparations as well as some other personal issues. Then Daniel got sick, my milk supply tanked and he was refusing to nurse, and on top of that, he seems to be teething and may finally be getting his first tooth! With all that, I hadn't had much free time to write but I'm back now and promise to do my best to keep on bringing you great natural parenting information.

          Now let me update you on my journey on eating for three and how Daniel, my unborn baby, and myself are doing. On my last post, I told you about all the difficulties and the worries I had about me losing weight and Daniel not gaining any. I am now happy to announce that, as of this morning, Daniel weighs a whopping 22lbs 8oz and is 30.5 inches tall! I have also gained 7lbs in the last month and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My morning sickness is now gone and has been replaced by heartburn, oh joy!

          As far as nursing goes, we were doing fine until about a few weeks ago when he began to sleep through the night and then started to refuse the breast during the day. I have been able to get him to latch on about once every other day but only when he's sleeping. I struggled a lot with this as I planned to have him self wean when ready as is best for him. However, I felt like he was being forced to wean due to my chronic low milk supply. It was evident  by his crying at the breast and increased nursing frequency right before this, that he is not ready to wean and was very upset. I have struggled with feelings of guilt over this for the last few weeks, especially during the days he was sick and not eating much.  It has been heartbreaking for me but I have not given up. I have been offering the breast often even though he usually refuses. I went to see an awesome lactation counselor last week who made me feel so much better. Since then, I have been making sure Daniel and I get lots of skin on skin contact and have started weaning him from his pacifier. I have also been taking a combination of red raspberry leaf, nettle, oats, and alfalfa to support my pregnancy, enrich my milk, and maybe even increase my supply if that's possible at this point. With the support of my husband and my friend Reggie who has been very helpful and even lent me a Lact-Aid Nursing Trainer, I have been able to keep going even when I have felt like giving up.

          I am pleased to say that today is the third day that Daniel goes mostly without a pacifier and that the herbs I've been taking have helped me feel better emotionally. to top it all off, Daniel surprised me this afternoon by actually asking to nurse and then latching on for about 20 minutes before drifting off into a peaceful sleep! As if that wasn't enough, he stirred and cried out during his nap and accepted my breast instead of the pacifier and was latched on for another 15 minutes, as well as an additional 2 minutes when he woke up! I am so happy and excited and hope things continue like this and that I'm able to provide my baby with what he needs. I am pretty sure I am producing colostrum now and thought maybe he was weaning due to the taste but maybe what's really happening is that now that he's getting colostrum he is finding nursing more worth his while. I am not certain of what's going on or how our nursing story will go, but I am just glad he's showing positive signs. I was told by the lactation counselor that as long as he latches on every few days or so until the baby is born, he'll probably end up picking it back up when my milk comes in. I will definitely keep you updated on how that goes.

          Now I have a big announcement to make: Daniel is having a baby brother! I am now 21 weeks and we had our ultrasound on Friday morning. I knew it was a boy all along just as I did with Daniel but the ultrasound confirmed it: we're having another boy! I am very excited and hope my boys get along and get to enjoy a very special relationship growing up together.

          That's it for my updates. I plan to diligently work on my blog now that I'm feeling better and things are going well. Please be on the lookout for some upcoming reviews and giveaways and thank you for being patient and understanding why I had to be away from the blog for a while.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Eating for Three

               I have some awesome news to share with all of you: I am officially eating for three! That's right, I am expecting baby # 2! I am SO excited! But why do I say I'm eating for three and not two? No, I am not having twins. I am now 14 weeks pregnant and still nursing Daniel who will be 11 months old in 9 days! So I have to feed the baby growing in my womb, my avid little nursling, and myself and boy, am I hungry! A normal sized meal doesn't even begin to fill me up anymore. I am constantly hungry, even minutes after I finish eating! I wake up at 3 or 4 am absolutely starving! It's only normal as Daniel is still nursing 2 or 3 times overnight, a few times in the morning, at both his nap times (when he decides to nap) and right before bed time. He also has a bunch of less than a minute long nursing sessions throughout the day, he just latches on a for a few seconds and then is off to playing and exploring the world again.On top of all that, I am also feeding the new baby inside of me and still have to keep up with my own caloric and nutritional needs. How could I not be hungry then? Despite all of the hunger, I am excited to be on this journey to become a mother of two and, possibly, a tandem nursing mother!

               Many people have asked me if this is safe. I guess a lot of people are under the impression that you are not supposed to continue nursing while pregnant because it will cause a miscarriage or preterm labor. I have also heard that Daniel will take nutrients away from the fetus or that my milk is now "bad" and can hurt Daniel or give him diarrhea so I wanted to clear up some of these misunderstandings. First of all, it is perfectly safe to continue to breastfeed throughout your whole pregnancy provided that you have a normal, healthy pregnancy and I was cleared by my midwife to do so. Some women who have a history or are at risk for miscarriage or preterm labor are asked to wean by their care provider. However, I have also heard from some moms who have had one or two preterm babies and were still  given the okay to nurse during subsequent pregnancies.

               Second, your nursling will not take the nutrients away from your fetus. Your pregnant body automatically feeds the fetus first, then makes milk for your nursling and then whatever is left goes to you although the system may not work this perfectly. You must eat enough healthy food to be able to feed both of your babies and not develop nutritional deficiencies yourself. I was told I need to be eating about 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day and that should be from healthy foods: lots of protein, healthy fats and green veggies. As for the milk being "bad", breast milk is perfectly safe for your baby when you are pregnant. It does, however, change in composition and taste. At some point towards the end of your pregnancy, your milk will turn into colostrum, causing your baby to, once again, have runny stools like when he was a newborn due to colostrum's laxative properties. This is perfectly normal and safe and is not diarrhea. You may continue to nurse safely during your entire pregnancy and even nurse both children safely once the baby is born. However, your nursling may wean during your pregnancy due to a change in taste or low supply. Some will nurse again once you have more milk and some won't, every baby is different.

               For me and Daniel, this new pregnancy has presented new breastfeeding challenges. From about 8 weeks or so, I noticed a drop in my supply and Daniel was crying when he tried to nurse and got no milk. it was heartbreaking for me. He was slightly under 9 months at the time and still only having one full solid meal a day which was only about 2-4oz plus snacks throughout the day and was relying mostly on my milk. I called my midwife, who recommended one cup a day of Mother's Milk Tea as well as lots of nettle tea. This helped Daniel stop crying but I seemed to be having off days and good days. I started pumping and was unable to get more than half an ounce. I then started drinking a Spanish drink called malta which is brewed from hops and barley malt, similar to beer but non-alcoholic and sweet. I was also eating oatmeal for breakfast everyday and began drinking Ovaltine. I increased my water intake and focused on eating more calories, especially healthy fats and protein. I saw some improvement but just could not pump more than an ounce and still had some off days.

                At Daniel's 9 month doctor's appointment, the doctor stated that he was not gaining weight fast enough and I realized he had lost a few ounces. At that point, we decided to focus on feeding him good proteins and fats. We started feeding him a lot of avocado and cheese and finally introduced meat. We also added a second solid meal. Since then, he has greatly increased his solid intake. He now has two huge meals of at least 8-12 oz each plus snacks throughout the day. we will probably be introducing a third solid meal soon as I want to make sure he is getting enough and also want him to get used to three meals a day like the rest of us since he is almost one. At my prenatal appointment this morning, we were happy to discover that he has gained two ounces! I was told to take Life's Basic Plant Protein Plus Greens to increase the fat content and calories in my milk. I am trying but the stuff tastes disgusting and has even made me throw up a few times. Luckily, my midwife said any greens will help and I can take any green supplement I like or even just eat the greens. I plan on making a super soup packed with greens and other veggies and some meat to add protein that both i and Daniel can eat.

               I also added some Cookies, Then Milk lactation cookies which I will be reviewing on here later this week as well as some special hot cereal and saw an increase. I was then put on antibiotics for a UTI and had a decrease again. I also stayed at my parents house while feeling sick and Daniel started going down for naps with my dad instead of me and he almost didn't nurse at all during the day which I'm sure further decreased my supply.Once I was off antibiotics, I saw a small increase only to get a cold and see a decrease again. I was taking my cookies through all of that and I am glad because Daniel always seemed to be getting enough. The decreases were just in my pumping output which is extra milk anyway. I will be getting more soon to keep up my supply. I am now feeling better but due to unforeseen circumstances, have not been taking any of my galactagogues and have not been able to pump very often.

               Luckily, Daniel has resumed nursing at nap times and having multiple mini nursing sessions throughout the day. He seems to be getting enough. I consulted with a WIC lactation consultant and she seems to think, based on how much he eats, nurses, pees and poops, that he is getting enough milk but suggested I give him some water with each meal if i am worried about dehydration. He should be able to get whatever nutrition he doesn't receive from my milk, from his solids. For now, he is happy and I plan to start introducing galactagogues one by one back into my diet to hopefully maintain my supply and prevent myself from drying up completely. I don't want to have to take so much stuff so I will take one at a time and eliminate anything that doesn't work or that tastes awful if I can help it. I will continue to pump and store milk to have in case of an emergency or in case my supply eventually tanks. I do plan to tandem nurse and would like to continue nursing Daniel until he is ready to wean (hopefully until at least 2 years old) so I have decided that if it is absolutely necessary to supplement, I will use a supplemental nursing system. However, due to his age and interest in solids, it seems unlikely that I will have to supplement much. We should be able to make it through the pregnancy as long as he doesn't decide he hates the taste of colostrum when it comes in. I will have to come back and update you on the status of our nursing relationship as my pregnancy progresses.

               As far as the pregnancy goes, everything is going well. I have had some horrible morning sickness and have been very tired and that, along with my cold, have kept me from writing as much as I'd like on here. I had to visit the emergency room last week for some unexplained pain but was assured the baby is okay. We were able to hear the baby's heartbeat at my appointment this morning and it is beating pretty strong. My midwife sent my urine to the lab to re-test for a UTI as that can be the cause of my pain. If not, she thinks it could just be round ligament pain and I will be going to see my chiropractor to see if he can help. I haven't been gaining weight and have actually lost a total of 8 pounds now. My midwife considers this okay for now as long as I gain weight in the upcoming weeks. She suggested I eat more food and said i should eat anytime I'm hungry, even when I wake up hungry in the middle of the night! The greens and soup to increase the fat content of my milk should help me gain weight as well.I will keep you posted on how all three of us are doing as I get further along in the pregnancy.  Eating for three is not easy, especially when you have a very active almost 11 month old to chase around all day, but it is something I must do to very well to ensure optimal health for all three of us and proper growth for both of my babies. It is hard work but well worth my time!

Nursing Daniel at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium a week after I found out I was pregnant (before the milk supply issues began).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sleepy Wrap Review

           Baby wearing is awesome and has many benefits to both mom and baby. I have been wearing Daniel since he was about a month old. I wrote about the benefits of wearing your baby here. Recently, I was able to try the Sleepy Wrap made by NAP, Inc. You can read more on the benefits of baby wearing on the Sleepy Wrap website, here.


          The Sleepy Wrap is a simple, long piece of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself in different ways and then you simply pop the baby in and out as needed. It takes a bit to learn the proper way to wrap but once you get the hang of it, it's easy to do quickly. I love wraps because they distribute the weight evenly throughout both of your shoulders and across all of your back. I have scoliosis and a messed up  left shoulder. It is uncomfortable for me to wear bags or straps on my left side but the wraps are comfortable because I can just spread the fabric out as needed. Stretchy wraps are great for younger babies as it keeps them really close to you and gives the the warm, snuggly feeling of being in the womb again.

Me Wearing Daniel in the Sleepy Wrap
          My favorite feature of the Sleepy Wrap is that the fabric is super soft and stretchy. I can't wait to try it out on a newborn. I was able to try it out with my 10 month old, 19lbs 6oz baby. I found that I had to tie it very tightly in order for it not to stretch out too much when I put him in. Once the baby is in though, it is super comfy. I have no back or shoulder pain while wearing Daniel. Because my baby is older, heavier and more interested in crawling around, I only wore the wrap for short periods of time, for going to the laundry, etc. and cannot speak to it's comfort for long periods of time. I do find that stretchy wraps in general stretch out after a while, especially with heavier babies,  and have to be tightened throughout the day but that is not a big deal as you can just untie the ends, tighten, and tie back up. There is no need to remove the whole wrap and I have experience wearing a stretchy wrap for hours when Daniel was younger with no discomfort other than the fact that it can get hot while wearing a baby wrapped so closely in the heat of Florida. The wrap comes in a convenient carrying pouch which makes it easy to throw in your bag.

          Daniel has always loved to hang out in a wrap and the Sleepy Wrap has been no different. NAP, Inc. the makers of the Sleepy Wrap, also make the awesome Boba soft structured carrier carrier which holds toddlers upto 45 lbs on your front or back and I can't wait to use one of those with Daniel as he gets older and heavier.

          The classic sleepy wrap is $45 plus shipping and comes in a variety of colors. I tried the dark green classic Sleepy Wrap. It is also available in organic fabric for $59.95 plus shipping. You can purchase a Sleepy Wrap here.


Another Pic of Daniel in the Sleepy Wrap

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Big Latch On 2011

          On Saturday, August 6th, 2011, at 10:30 am local time, breastfeeding moms gathered in locations all across the world for The Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event aimed at showing the general public that public nursing is normal. Moms and babies attempted to stay latched on for 60 seconds in order to try to beat a world record for the most moms nursing at one time. The previous record was 15,128 nursing mothers at 295 locations across The Phillipines in 2007.  The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand a few years ago and was brought to the United States by Joanne Edwards. Joanne, who is originally from New Zealand, organized a synchronized breastfeeding event in Portland, Oregon last year. She was also one of the organizers for this year's event alongside Annie Brown, a La Leche League Leader. According to Joanne, there was a provisional total of 4,123 women nursing their babies in 294 locations across the globe. This included the United States, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia.  Although the world record was not broken, the event served its purpose in uniting women across the United States and beyond in an effort to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and normalize breastfeeding in public.


          I attended The Big Latch On event at MochiBerri Frozen Yogurt at the Shoppes at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida.  The event was organized by Katrina Lang and sponsored by Joyce Hepscher of Stroller Strides in New Tampa. Mochiberri Frozen Yogurt was kind enough to allow us to use their venue free of charge and offered participants and supporters drinks for $1 during the event. MedExpress donated gift bags for the participants and there were also gift bags prepared by the organizers. Skinny Water and LifeSource Wellness Centers donated items for these bags. There were items raffled at the end of the event which were donated by various community sponsors. Basic Black Collection at the Shoppes at Wiregrass donated a handbag and FitNich, also at Wiregrass donated a sports bra. Happy Baby baby food donated their Happy Baby book as well as coupons and The Crunchy boutique in New Port Richey donated Rockin Green Detergent. A Mary Kay consultant also donated items for the raffle. Plum Organics puffs and Mish Mash were also given out. At the end of the event, each mom received pink carnations for participating. Kathy's flowers in New Tampa donated half of these carnations. Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors and organizers for making the event possible!

          The final count for my location was 42 nursing mom and baby pairs and 18 dads and others who attended the event for support. Among the attendees were a lactation consultant from St. Joseph's Women's Hospital who attended to give advice and spread the word, and a representative from the Pasco County Health Department who photographed the event.I had a wonderful time at the event and was glad to see so many breastfeeding mothers come together for a lactivism event. It was even greater to see that quite a few dads attended as well to support their wives and babies. The event itself was very well organized and we had a great turn out considering that it was put together in only 9 days and there was not much time to spread the word. We are expecting an even greater turn out next year.

Daniel and I latched on
          In nearby Largo, FL another event was organized by Magen Gilbreath and coincided with the Tampa Bay Birth Network's Family Fun Day. They ended up with 47 nursing moms, 27 of which were latched on for the full minute. Two of these moms were tandem nursing two children each. They had a total of about 155 attendees at the event, including 2 photographers who donated free family portraits.














Friday, August 5, 2011

Nursing "IS" Normal Project

          As nursing moms, one of the biggest struggles we face is nursing in public. From feeling self conscious and getting glared at by strangers to people saying that we need to go to the bathroom to nurse or that nursing in public is like having sex in public, nursing moms have it really hard when it comes to feeding their babies in public locations. This can often lead moms to feel like they have to be confined to their homes. Many moms even give up breastfeeding prematurely so that they can go out and be accepted in public. I personally am very conservative and did not have much exposure  to breastfeeding growing up so, naturally, I felt very self conscious nursing outside my home. So in the newborn days when Daniel would not stop nursing, I stayed home as much as possible and, consequently, became depressed. I am now making a conscious effort to breastfeed in public more and to support other mothers that do.

         While doing some research online, I came across the Nursing "IS" Normal project and decided to highlight it here in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. The project was spearheaded by Kathy O'Brien, a birth doula and HypnoBabies instructor in Fort Worth, Texas. She took photographs of volunteer moms in her area breastfeeding their babies in public locations around town. The goal of the project was to show people that nursing is normal in the hopes that one day people will be so used to seeing it that it will no longer stand out or seem strange. Kathy also hopes to empower women everywhere to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public and not feel like they have to be confined to their homes. The photographs were exhibited at The Art of Birth in fort Worth.Here is a slide show of some of the pictures from part two of Kathy's project:


          But the project didn't end there. Kathy went on to do a part two and even three of her project and the project caught on throughout the nation. In Brattleboro, Vermont, parents Zachary and Michelle Stephens hosted their own Nursing "IS" Normal project. The photographs were showcased in an Art of Breastfeeding show sponsored by the Windham County Breastfeeding Coalition in collaboration with the Arts Council of Windham County. Here is a slide show of the photographs:


          In Madison, Wisconsin, Lea Wolf, co-founder of Happy Bambino, Madison's all in one resource for pregnancy, birth, babies and breastfeeding, photographed the nursing moms. Alison Dodge, the other co-founder of Happy Bambino, was the administrator. Here are some of their photographs:


          In Charlotte, North Carolina, the photographers were Juliet Simpson and Laura Sing, with guest photography by Nathaniel Meyer and Kaylie Plummer. Here are some of their photos:


          None of the people involved in these projects received any compensation and there were no profits made from these videos. Everyone involved simply has a passion for breastfeeding, a desire to see nursing in public become the norm, and a heart to help new moms feel comfortable breastfeeding their children anytime, anywhere. The slide shows are beautiful and highlight how natural breastfeeding really is. Hopefully the project will continue to spread and our generation will truly get to see nursing for what it really is, the most natural way to feed our babies!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inspired by Finn Teething Anklet Review and Discount Code

          If you're like most parents, you dread the moment your baby starts teething: the pain, fussiness, and general uneasiness. You'd do anything to relieve your baby's discomfort and see him or her smile again. There are many teething medicines on the market but with so many recalls and dangerous ingredients even among some of the natural remedies, what's a parent to do? There is hope! Enter Baltic amber teething jewelry.

          The Baltic region contains 80% of the world's amber and Baltic amber is the most prized amber in the world. Baltic amber is the fossilized resin from pine trees that grew in the Baltic region about 45 million years ago. Amber is a warm to the touch gem and, when worn against the warmth of your skin, it releases healing oils. These oils contain succinic acid. Baltic amber contains a higher amount of succinic acid than any other amber in the world and that is why it is so highly prized. Succinic acid is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used in Europe as a natural teething remedy for centuries. Baltic amber can also be used by adults and also helps with strengthening the immune system, restoring energy,maintaining wellness, and reducing chronic inflammation. Baltic amber can also be used to help with anxiety, depression, relieve stress and help maintain emotional health.

          Traditionally, babies wear amber teething necklaces around their neck for teething. However, Daniel is really curious and just has to touch everything so my husband and I were really worried about putting a necklace on him and were glad to find that an anklet can be a good alternative. There are many people out there selling fake amber so I must tell you what happened to us. We went to a festival and there was a man who was selling loose amber beads, amber chunks with inclusions, and a few necklaces. He recommended that we buy 12 polished beads at $2 each to make Daniel an anklet and even threw in some stretchy string for free. Daniel had seemed really uncomfortable with serious teething symptoms so we were really excited and did as he said. When I tried to make the anklet, I realized I did not have enough beads, the stretchy cord would not work and I had no idea what I was doing so I did some research online. I found that we paid way too much for the beads and I could have gotten a necklace or anklet for that price or even cheaper. I also came across a few posts on how to tell if the amber is real or fake and found that my beads were fake! I was very angry but the festival was over and nothing could be done.


          Then a friend recommended Inspired by Finn. She said they were a trustworthy company and she has one of the necklaces for her son. I did my research and found that they offer a 9 1/2" adjustable raw amber anklet as an alternative to a necklace and we decided to buy that. I contacted Inspired by Finn and they offered me a generous discount and I ordered the anklet. The customer service was excellent. I emailed them late one night and had a response early the next morning. Everyone was very friendly. I ordered my anklet and received it within 2 days even though the website said it would take 3-5 days with first class mail.

          I was very pleased with the quality of the anklet. There is a double knot in between each bead so if the anklet breaks, beads will not scatter everywhere and it has an adjustable clasp which means one size fits most and Daniel might never outgrow his anklet! The anklet is made of raw amber beads which have not been polished or shaped in any way and I was worried it would be ugly but it is very nice looking for a boy. Raw amber contains the most succinic acid and on the Inspired by Finn website it says they have done some studies that show a full 9 1/2" of raw amber as an anklet is a good alternative to the necklace although it might not work just as well. I did my tests and found that the amber is authentic. Daniel doesn't mess with the anklet too much since he's usually crawling around and not playing with his feet. The website recommends wearing socks over the anklet to keep it warmer and I will try to do that when we are at home in the air conditioner but now when we go out as it is very hot here in Florida right now. The anklet has not been irritating to his sensitive skin at all. Unfortunately, Daniel has no teeth and is not showing any teething discomfort at the moment so I cannot say whether or not the anklet works so I will have to write a "part two" to this post when his first tooth appears.

           A few tests to determine whether your amber is real are: Put it in a bowl of 1 part salt to two parts water. Real amber floats in salt water. However, my fake amber passed this test. rub it in between your hands. Real amber becomes really warm when you do this but this test is highly subjective. Wet a cotton swab with nail polish remover and swab a bead with it. Real amber will not be affected but fake amber will melt. This is what happened with my fake amber beads. My Inspired by Finn anklet survived this test of authenticity.

          Inspired by Finn teething necklaces start  at $20.95 depending on size and style and the anklet is $26.95. They also have adult amber jewelry as well as child and adult hazel wood jewelry. Inspired by Finn has been generous enough to offer all of my readers 25% off any purchase! With such a great offer and all of the benefits of natural Baltic amber, why not try one today? Visit Inspired by Finn and use code "Taisha" at checkout to get your discount. Once 15 items have been purchased, I will be hosting a giveaway here and the winner will receive a free item of their choice. Please leave a comment here letting me know how many items you purchased so I can keep track for the giveaway. I will be checking back with you soon for "part two" of this post and the giveaway!

Picture of anklet from inspired by Finn website
Daniel wearing his anklet

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week!

          Did you know that the month of August is designated as National Breastfeeding Month? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health hosts this breastfeeding awareness campaign to promote breastfeeding to first time parents who would not otherwise breastfeed their babies. The campaign raises awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding as well as how to overcome early breastfeeding issues with the goal of raising the number of moms who continue to breastfeed to at least 6 months of age.

          In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, TheBump.com partnered with celebrity moms such as Constance Marie, Lisa Loeb, and Kelly Rutherford, to create this video highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding:


          This week, August 1-7, is also designated as World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and has been celebrated every year throughout the world since 1991. Many breastfeeding awareness events such as walks, fundraisers, family fun days, picnics, etc. take place this week throughout the world in order to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and where to get breastfeeding help.

          This year, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, on Saturday, August 6th, 2011, at 10:30 am local time, moms and babies all over the world will be getting together for The Big Latch On to try to break the record for the most women breastfeeding at the same time. Babies must be latched on for one whole minute, from 10:30 to 10:31 am local time in order to count towards the total. Many of the locations are having goodies, raffles, giveaways, and other family fun events simultaneously.

         To celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week, I will be posting as much information about breastfeeding as I can on here and on the Diary of a Natural Mom Facebook page as well as on my personal Facebook page. I will also make it a point to talk about breastfeeding with everyone I know and......... {BIG SHOCK HERE}........ I will make more efforts to breastfeed in public (GASP!!)!! Dan, Daniel, and I plan to attend and participate in The Big Latch On in Tampa and I will be reporting back to you and posting pictures from the event. Hopefully my little wiggle worm will cooperate and latch on for the entire minute without being distracted! What are you doing to promote breastfeeding? How many of you are attending The Big Latch On in your area?



   

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Am a Strong Woman!

        
          As modern women, we tend to want to do it all: have and care for children, keep up the house, spend time with our husbands, volunteer at church, and still work outside the home! Usually, one of two scenarios ends up happening. In scenario one, we say yes to everything and end up overtired and stressed out. In scenario two, we realize we can't do it all and end up feeling bad about ourselves for that. I currently fall under scenario number two. I breastfeed Daniel, make him homemade baby food, and cloth diaper him. I try to spend as much time playing with him and reading to him as possible. I also want to be able to keep my house spotless, the laundry hamper empty, have dinner ready for my husband when he gets home, have time to spend with my husband every night, make time to read the Bible and pray every day, pump milk to store and donate at least once a day, write blog posts at least every couple of days, volunteer at church, become certified and begin teaching Bradley method childbirth classes, train as a lactation consultant, help my husband with our Amway business, and still have some "me" time to read or just relax and I want to all of this without ever leaving Daniel with a sitter!
          Obviously, I'm not superwoman so I never get everything accomplished and I tend to beat myself up about it so much. I feel like I'm failing as a wife and even mother when I can't keep the house spotless or all the laundry done. I forget to pump all the time and haven't found anyone to donate to yet. I feel bad when I don't spend enough time playing with Daniel or forget to read him a story or when he cries for me to pick him up when I'm in the middle of writing a blog post. I ended up not going to Bradley training this year and will now have to wait till next year and I'm not sure I can fit in lactation consultant training at the same time. I don't volunteer at church. Actually, we are trying to find a new church close to home(our old one was about 45 minutes away) and are not doing so good at finding one. I don't always get around to reading the Bible or talking to people about our Amway products every day and I definitely don't get "me" time most days. Many nights, my husband falls asleep before I'm able to spend anytime with him. The only thing on my list I can say I accomplish every single day is praying. So I tell myself that I'm doing a horrible job at the things that I am doing and, in turn, doubt my ability to accomplish the things I haven't started doing yet.
          As you can probably imagine, this type of negative thinking has gotten me nowhere. It hasn't helped me accomplish more or do better at the things I already do. Instead, it leads to me feeling down about myself. So I have decided to end this vicious cycle and start by convincing myself that it's okay to not do everything. It's okay if I don't get all the laundry done. After all, I do have to wear my baby and walk down the stairs and halfway across my apartment complex while carrying the clothes, quarters, and laundry detergent in order to do it. I should be proud of how much of it I actually get done! I am blessed to have a great husband who cleans and makes dinner quite often when I can't and I am so thankful for that.It is okay to wait for Bradley and lactation consultant training, it'll be easier for me when Daniel is older. The same goes for volunteering at church. It is also okay to not pump or read Daniel a story every single day. Instead I will focus on making more time to read the Bible, spend time with my husband, play with Daniel, write my blog posts and talk to people about Amway and have some time time to myself to relax and unwind. But, if I don't always accomplish those things 100% , I will not beat myself up either, it is okay.
          I will remind myself everyday that I am only human and can only do so much in 24 hours and that my worth isn't measured by how much I get accomplished. I will also remind myself everyday that I am a strong woman. I have held a very demanding job in the past. When my marriage was struggling, I stood up for it, prayed, persevered, and never gave up until I saw God's power of restoration over it and now I continue to find time to work on it.  I grew a baby in my womb and gave birth to him with absolutely no medication even after a 24 hour labor and at least 3 hours of pushing, without freaking out. I didn't give up on breastfeeding and overcame tons of struggles and now we are doing great at a little over 8 months into it. I continue to persevere in my faith even in times of struggle. I am doing the best I can at keeping up the house even when I have to wear the baby in order to do it. I am doing my best at being a good wife and mother and I am still trying to make time to help others. I am a very strong woman but I often forget that and let the negative thoughts take over. From now on, everyday I will tell myself that I am strong and will remind myself of the reasons why and all of you should do the same. Stop doing too much and becoming overburdened or beating yourselves up for not doing "enough" and start reminding yourselves of what you have accomplished and how strong you are each and every day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wisdom From the Marsupials: Why You Should "Wear" Your Baby

         During those last few weeks of pregnancy, parents want nothing more than to finally hold their new baby in their arms. Once the baby is born, nothing feels better than those newborn snuggles. But newborns are born with a strong need to be held and it can get very tiring for mom and dad to have baby in arms for most of the day. That is why many parents choose to "wear" their babies. There are many different types of carriers for that purpose: slings, wraps, soft structured carriers, etc. No matter, what carrier you choose, wearing your baby will not only be an experience you'll cherish for years to come, but it will also benefit you and your baby greatly.

Babies who are worn:

  • Learn more. Babies who are worn and have all of their needs met spend more time in a state of calm, quiet alertness which is the ideal state for learning. In addition, worn babies go throughout an entire day with caregivers and learns from that caregiver's activities and interactions with others.
  • Are happier. Babies who are worn cry less and are less likely to suffer from colic. A study in the journal, Pediatrics, found that wearing babies for 3 hours a day reduced crying by 43% overall and 54% during evening hours when most babies tend to be at their fussiest.
  • Are more organized. When you wear your baby, your warmth, heart beat, breathing, and movement help regulate baby's emotional, intellectual and physiological systems and organize his or her behavior.
  • Have stronger bonds with their parents. Babies who are worn experience more skin-to-skin contact with mom and dad, are close enough to listen to the calming rhythms of parents' heartbeat and breathing, and have all of their needs quickly met. This enables baby to enables to develop trust toward the parent as well as a healthy attachment.
  • Talk better. Babies who are worn spend more time at voice and eye level and are in the middle of any conversations their parent or caregiver engages in. By listening to the sounds their parents make, babies learn words and sounds earlier. Babies also learn communication skills such as turn taking and making eye contact.
  • Have all of their needs met faster. When you wear your baby, you are continually available to meet his or her needs. When baby is hungry, you can quickly offer the breast. When he or she needs changing, you can quickly do that as well. When you are there to meet your baby's needs, he or she is content and ready to learn from the world around them.
  • Sleep better. In the comfort of a baby carrier, close to mom's body, babies tend to sleep more than when put in the crib for naps. 
  • Grow better. Premature babies and babies with illnesses grow better and gain more weight when held close to their parent's bodies for most of the day.
  • Are less likely to be abused. Wearing baby promotes strong attachment and helps parents become more intuitive and responsive making it less likely for baby to be neglected or abused.

Parents who wear their babies:
  • Get more accomplished. Babywearing frees parents' hands for cleaning, cooking, working, etc. making life easier for busy parents. 
  • Breastfeed easier. When wearing baby, he or she is always in close contact with mom making it easier to breastfeed. Many carriers also make it easier to nurse baby discreetly in public. 
  • Are more confident. When baby's needs are consistently met, baby is happier which makes parents feel better about themselves and helps them develop trust in their parenting abilities and instincts.
  • Have stronger bonds with their babies. When you wear your baby, you spend more time in skin-to-skin contact with him or her and, therefore, develop a stronger attachment with baby.
  • Are more responsive. Parents who wear their babies spend most of their time in close contact with baby which makes it easier to respond to babies needs faster.
  • Learn to read their babies better. When parents spend a lot of time in close contact with baby through baby wearing, they learn to read babies cues better, which in turn helps babies cry less. When mom is always around, she can pick up on babies early hunger or sleep cues and fulfill babies needs before baby is upset enough to cry. This develops better communication and bonding between babies and parents.
  • Get more exercise. While wearing babies, parents get more exercise. A walk with baby in a carrier can be a great form of exercise while also helping baby to calm down and fall asleep.
  • Are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Developing a stronger bond with baby as well as feeling more confident helps reduce moms' risk of postpartum depression. Wearing baby also helps moms produce more oxytocin which has a calming and mood lifting effect on mothers. If baby wearing mothers do become depressed, wearing baby offers a way to still meet babies needs with minimal effort.
  • Have more fun. With baby in a carrier, parents can go anywhere while still effortlessly caring for baby. Babywearing parents can also go places where it might be difficult to push a stroller.

          Just as marsupials carry  their babies in their pouches, nurturing them and meeting their every need, babywearing parents help their babies achieve optimal development during the "fourth trimester", the period of time during which baby is getting adjusted to life outside the womb. While wearing their babies, parents keep them close and are able to meet all of babies' needs, helping them develop the strong sense of trust and security needed to thrive. I started wearing Daniel in a Moby Wrap when he was about a month old and I can say from experience that it is awesome. I am able to get things done around the house while keeping my baby close and meeting all of his needs and our relationship has grown a lot stronger because of it. We are both happy since our needs are being met and we have great communication with each other. There is no greater feeling than that of seeing your baby thrive and knowing it is because you are doing everything in your power to enhance their growth and development. I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything in this world!
Me wearing Daniel in the Moby Wrap at 6 weeks old.
Me wearing Daniel during our first family vacation in Orlando. (7 months old)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Breast Milk, God's Super Food for Human Babies

     
           I would like to say that I've always valued breastfeeding and planned to breastfeed my babies but that is just not the case.  When I thought of having a baby, I never envisioned breastfeeding. The women in my family and all around me used formula, my dolls came with bottles, and women on TV all bottle fed their babies so I took this to be the "normal" way to feed a baby. Little did I know that I was as far from the truth as I could be. It wasn't until I got pregnant that I gave the topic any serious thought. From the minute I read how good breastfeeding was for the baby, I decided I'd do it. Since then, breast milk hasn't ceased to amaze me. Let's take a look at the benefits of breast feeding to mom and baby as well as the many amazing yet little known qualities of breast milk, God's super food for human babies.


Benefits for Baby:

- Optimal nutrition. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby and contains all the nutrients he or she needs for the first 6 months of life. No water, juice, formula, or solids are needed during this time. Breast milk has a unique composition and it's components are not all known so there is no way for formula manufacturers to duplicate it. No matter what you read on the labels, breast milk is superior.

- Higher IQ. Breastfed babies have an advantage of 10-12 IQ points over formula fed babies.

- Better dental alignment.

- Stronger immune system due to antibodies passed on through breast milk.

- Fewer speech problems.

- Better emotional development. Breastfed babies exhibit self-confidence and trust.

- Healthier skin.

-Decreased risk of infections such as: ear infections, repiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, haemophilus influenza(Hib), herpes simplex, respiratory synctial virus (RSV), necrotizing enteral colitis (NEC),  h. pylori, infectious diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and meningitis.

- Better response to vaccines.

- Better digestion and absorption due to enzymes found in breast milk. Breastfed infants also have less digestive discomfiorts such as gastroesophagal reflux, constipation, vomiting,  and diarrhea.

- Increased bonding and attachment to mother as well as increased skin to skin contact with mother.

- Baby can nurse for comfort when upset or hurt.

- Decreased risk of obesity later in life. Breast feeding teaches babies how to eat frequent small meals and to stop eating when full both of which are necessary tools for life long healthy eating.

- Healthier balance in gut flora. 

-Possible protection against AIDS.

- Fewer colds.

- Healthier hearts.

- Breastfed babies are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed babies during their first year of life.

-Better social development.

-Better psychomotor development.

- Prevention of dental malocclusion.

- Protection against botulism.

- Better brain and nervous system development.

- Increased bone density.

- Less stress on baby's kidneys and liver.
 
- Decreased risk of:
  • pyloric stenosis
  • acute appendicitis
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • diabetes mellitus
  • breast cancer later in life
  • childhood cancers
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • SIDS
  • multiple sclerosis
  • undescended testicles in boys
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • eczema
  • inguinal hernias
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitamin E and Iron deficiency anemias
  • ulcerative colitis
  • leukemia


Benefits for Mom:

- Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, uterine, cervical, and endometrial cancers.

- Reduced postpartum bleeding.

- Better postpartum emotional health.

- Faster postpartum weight loss.

- Delay in fertility which aids in spacing of children. Breastfeeding is an effective method of birth control as long as baby is younger than 6 months old, mom has not started having periods again after the birth, and baby is being exclusively breastfed (no water, formula, juice, or solids).

- Decreased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

-Reduced need for insulin among diabetic women.

- Lower blood pressure.

- Less risk of metabolic syndrome. 

-Increased bonding with baby.

-Breastfeeding releases prolactin and oxytocin  which promote relaxation and warm, motherly feelings.

-No need to get up and prepare bottles in the middle of the night or pack bottles when going out.

-Saves money. It is estimated that the average family spends about $800-1,200 a year on formula.

- Breastfeeding mothers have more self-confidence and trust in their own intuition.

- Baby's diapers smell better. Exclusively breastfed babies' poop doesn't smell as offensive as formula fed babies'. 

-Baby will be easier to comfort.

-Saves money on health care costs for baby.

-The satisfaction of knowing you gave your baby the best possible start in life!


Other interesting facts about breast milk:

- Breast milk contains all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your baby needs for optimum growth and development during their first 6 months of life.

- Breast milk is made up of the perfect combination of sugars, fats, and proteins your baby needs at any point in his or her development.

- The content of your breast milk changes as your baby gets older to meet his or her needs at each particular stage. As baby grows into a toddler and drinks less milk, the nutrient content per ounce increases.

- Breast milk can be applied to the eye with a dropper to cure eye infections.

- Breast milk can be applied to baby's bottom to treat diaper rash.

- Adoptive mothers can take medication to induce lactation in order to breastfeed their babies.

- Breast milk can be used to heal sore or cracked nipples.

- Breast milk is made up of fore milk and hind milk. When baby first latches on, he or she drinks "skim" fore milk which is very low in fat. As baby continues to drink longer, the milk's fat content increases until it reaches a fatty cream like state which is the hind milk. Fore milk can satisfy a baby's thirst but it is the fatty hind milk that keeps baby full and satisfied. Hind milk is also the one responsible for babies growth, weight gain and optimum brain development.

- Researchers in Sweden recently discovered a substance in breast milk, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells), which has the ability to kill 40 different types of cancer cells. Further research is being conducted with the hopes of possibly developing the substance into an anti-cancer medication in the future.

- The fat content and calories in your milk change throughout the day. Most women produce the most milk and milk has the highest fat and calorie content in the middle of the night, especially during the hours of 1-5 am. This milk is also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA which are necessary for baby's brain development. It is very important for moms to breastfeed their babies at least once during those hours in order to maintain proper milk supply and for baby to have optimal growth, weight gain and brain development.

          As you can see, breast milk is simply amazing! It was designed by God as the normal, natural, and healthiest way for babies to be fed and He thought of every single detail, even changing the content of the milk as babies get older! There are a wealth of important benefits of breast feeding to both moms and babies. For that reason, the American Academy of pediatrics now recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no water, formula, juice, or solids) for the first 6 months, followed by breastfeeding along with the gradual  introduction of age appropriate complementary solid foods for the second 6 months (until 1 year of age) and continued breastfeeding thereafter for as long as mom and baby feel comfortable. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by breastfeeding complemented by solids until at least 2 years of age and continued breastfeeding thereafter for as long as mom and baby want.